My congratulations on your third annual ranking of Canadian universities (“A measure of excellence,” Cover, Nov. 15). It makes a real contribution to stimulating better performance. I have only one minor quibble—too many of the “distinguished” alumni you listed for each university were politicians. Bear in mind the words of the historian Paul Johnson—“The great human scourge of the 20th century: the professional politician.”
Joe Martin, Toronto
I went to high-ranking McGill University and hated it. I went to low-ranking Concordia University and loved it. Why? Staff and administration went out of their way for me, and their excellent computer science program prepared me well. So, students, meet the faculty. Talk to students. Focus on the program that you are interested in. Then forget about what everybody else has to say.
Bernard Rolland, Toronto
How can you possibly expect Canadians to trust a survey that doesn’t have Queen’s University as No. 1?
Mike van de Water, Scarborough, Ont.
For several weeks, you have run letters objecting to the Randy Jorgensen “King of pom” issue (Oct. 11). But in the universities issue, there is ‘The pub report” about students who go to campus bars, many of whom drink to excess. It is unlikely that those who vilify pom will ever respond with indignation about alcohol as the prime evil of our society. To them, the slaughter on the highways and abuse in the homes are secondary to the evils of those who enjoy adult films in the privacy of their homes.
J. Paul Sutter, London, Ont.
We were delighted to see the great coverage Michelle Wright received in the Nov. 8 issue (“The Country Craze,” Cover). However, it is disappointing that you did not discover the tme depth of community spirit that bubbles from this remarkably generous person. Since March of this year, Michelle has been the honorary chairman of a county-
wide effort to raise $1.5 million to provide a CT Scanner for this community. She appeared in our promotional video and spent an entire day at a community lunch with 100 lucky lottery winners. Later, she performed two sold-out shows and attended a midnight reception, signing more autographs and posing for more pictures. We in Kent County are extremely proud of her and thank her for her wonderful community spirit.
Delynne Dick, St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, Chatham, Ont.
Charles Gordon asserts that “the schools could do a better job of teaching young people what kind of political society they live in” (“The positive side of the politics of rage,” Another View, Nov. 8). But the job can’t be done in the know-nothing atmosphere of many of our classrooms. I once tried to teach about the Holocaust to some mainstream Grade 12s. They had never heard of it and didn’t want to know. What can you do with people to whom 10,000 Maniacs and Megadeth are rock bands? Their lives are filled up with senseless distractions and attractive sensations. Classroom order is a manic mix of arrogance and apathy. Wisdom and grace give way to attitude and style. With this atmosphere of civil unrest, and the rest uncivil, Charles Gordon can’t depend on the schools to teach civics.
Jim Letterman, Pidgin Cove, Nfld.
I am in complete agreement with Charles Gordon. Curriculum experts threw out the teaching of civics and relegated history lessons to an abominable hodgepodge called social studies. Perhaps it’s time to reintroduce subjects that might restore some neglected values, such as genuine pride in being distinctively Canadian and in our basic philosophy of government.
Ray Lawrence, Saskatoon
Passage of time
In Peter C. Newman’s column “Will the 21st century belong to Jean Chrétien?” (Nov. 8), he writes that “he can take a bow on Dec. 31, 1999.” I don’t know about Newman’s reckoning, but the 20th century will end on Dec. 31, 2000, and Peter can wish Jean a Happy New Century on Jan. 1,2001.
John K. Kemp, Lloydminster, Alta.
The article on Mitchell Sharp’s post with the Chrétien government (“Ottawa’s odd couple,” Canada, Nov. 15) referred to the token salary paid to 203 successful businessmen who served the federal government during the Second World War. Not only businessmen served in this way. My father was an officer of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union and was also a dollar-a-year man.
Richard Ingles, London, Ont.
Letters may be condensed. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone. Write: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, Maclean Hunter Bldg., 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7. Or fax: (416) 596-7730.
Truth or dare?
Let’s hope Jean Chrétien reads Maclean’s.
Perhaps then our new Prime Minister may be aware of two important observations in your Nov. 1 issue. In the article “Facing the future” (Cover), you note, “For the victorious party, there is one obvious duty: fulfil election promises,” and in “The power to appoint” (From the Editor), you write that “Chrétiens Big Red Book vowed to reform the indexed pension plan of parliamentarians.” As recently announced, the ex-member in my riding, Perrin Beatty, is to receive a
pension of $70,000 per year—without any concerns for the cost of living. In the past, some income tax changes have been retroactive—would our new Prime Minister dare to make his proposed pension plan changes retroactive?
J. W. Houston, Creemore, Ont.
The Oct. 25 election results were the best possible outcome for Canadians. As we head into the next century, Canada is being led by the only true national party, the Liberals. With Jean Chrétien as Prime Minister, maybe the government will once again reflect the attributes that have been sorely lacking recently—hope, optimism, honesty and integrity. As for the Tories, part of the so-called great conservative revolution that swept the world in the mid-1980s, their economic philosophy has proved bankrupt and now they are broke and out of power. I for one will not mourn their passing.
Arun Avasthi, Edmonton
She’s a believer
I wonder how long the multinationals and the C. D. Howe Institute will be able to pull the wool over Diane Francis’s eyes (“Why free trade remains important,” Column, Oct. 25). They’ve got her believing that merchandise exports, boosted by inflation, are actually the measure of Canada’s economic prowess. She hasn’t cottoned on to the service sector economic albatross yet, guys. And whatever you do, don’t tell her that creating 50,000 jobs in five years doesn’t keep up with demand. She might find out that before the free trade deal we were creating 400,000 jobs each year.
Ken Johnson, Vancouver
It’s about time that someone spoke about the benefits of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Too many Canadians have blindly accepted the propaganda that the FTA is to blame for the rising unemployment rate and that it is detrimental to Canada’s future, when it is clear that this is not the case. What the FTA has done is force businesses to become competitive, start building quality products and stop hiding behind tax barriers that only promote mediocrity. We have access to a market roughly 10 times the size of Canada’s and if one looks at this objectively, they will see that in the end we can only benefit from this.
Trevor Gregory Jr., Mississauga, Ont.
‘A glaring omission’
It is a surprise and a great disappointment to me to see that the name of Ellen Fairclough did not appear in your article “Playing gender politics” (Cover, Oct. 4). Fairclough was the first woman to be appointed a cabinet minister in the federal government, where she held the portfolios of secretary of state, immigration and postmaster general in the Diefenbaker era. Of course, there are now many other women in politics that one might name, but I consider this a glaring omission.
Anne Stinson, Willowdale, Ont.
The fact that you chose to equate, by the use of your double cover, the winning of a baseball championship by a group of foreign millionaires to an event that may have forever altered the political landscape and the shape and nature of Canada causes me to seriously question your judgment and perspective.
Prof. Richard Long, Commerce Department, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
Joe Carter’s dramatic home run will be forever enshrined in Canadian sporting history, surpassed only by Paul Henderson’s goal against the Soviets in 1972. Nonetheless, both events provided the same result: proud Canadians from coast to coast.
Tony Carvalho, Guelph, Ont.
Avenging a son
Under Canada Notes (Nov. 1), I was struck by the item under the headline “Vengeful father sentenced.” If and only if the school principal was guilty of sexual assault, the law, in punishing the father of the 14-year-old boy for attacking the molester, was an ass. When will we as a society learn that this type of behavior by any adult person, let alone a principal, is absolutely contemptible. When will we learn that any respectable father would, quite justifiably, take such action to protect his son?
Julian Kinisky, Calmar, Alta.
‘Just get even’
Margaret Thatcher is just another politician who has left centre stage unwillingly (“Maggie’s stiletto,” Opening Notes, Oct. 25). She has joined the long list of authors who practise “Don’t get mad, just get even.” She has written a book and made money.
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